- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2003


Ousted judge files notice of appeal

MONTGOMERY — Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument, filed a notice of appeal yesterday with the state Supreme Court and asked a former colleague to step down from the case.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Mr. Moore from office Nov. 13 for refusing to obey a federal court order to remove the granite monument he had installed in the state Judicial Building’s public rotunda.

In a separate motion, Mr. Moore asked that acting Chief Justice Gorman Houston step down or be ordered by the court to disqualify himself from hearing Mr. Moore’s appeal because of statements Justice Houston has made to the reporters about the case.


3 missing after ship overturns in Hudson River

ALBANY — Divers searched for three missing crew members of a Dutch cargo ship yesterday after the ship turned on its side in the frigid Hudson River, also sending eight others overboard, officials said.

The ship turned partly on its side Tuesday in the partially frozen river, sending 11 members of the 18-person crew overboard. Of those, eight were pulled from the river. Two crew members were hospitalized for hypothermia, and seven others were later rescued from the ship, some by helicopter.

The ship had loaded 661 tons of steel turbines bound for Italy and Romania. Officials initially said the load shifted. But yesterday, Coast Guard Cmdr. John Cameron said the ship was at only 20 percent capacity, and its ballast should have kept it stable.


Tourism rebounding as winter sets in

PHOENIX — The state’s tourism business appears to be rebounding heading into the busy winter months, a report shows.

The Office of Tourism reported that tourists contributed $2.9 billion in July, August and September, compared with $2.7 billion in the same period last year.


Bats in school to be removed

ARKADELPHIA — Bats that took over a student center at a middle school will be moved back to the wild before the center reopens, school officials say.

The bats were seeking winter shelter and had got into the building through some small holes, said Goza Middle School Principal Angela Garner. The bats haven’t harmed anyone.


Voters get say on mayoral position

DOVER — Voters will decide whether the city should have a full-time or part-time mayor. Some City Council members say Mayor James L. Hutchinson is spending too much money on dinners and golf. It voted 5-4 in favor of putting a referendum on the ballot in April.

The mayor says the position must be full time for the city’s continued growth.


Court won’t remove Schiavo judge

CLEARWATER — An appeals court yesterday refused to remove the judge in the life-or-death case of a severely brain-damaged woman, rejecting Gov. Jeb Bush’s contention that the judge is biased.

Terri Schiavo’s husband is challenging the constitutionality of a law that allowed Mr. Bush to order her feeding tube reinserted after the husband had it removed.

Mr. Bush’s attorney, Kenneth L. Connor, argued that Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird already had made up his mind, citing the judge’s statements that the new law is “presumptively unconstitutional.”

But the appellate court said Judge Baird’s comments were not improper.

Michael Schiavo says his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents want to keep her alive and see whether she will respond to therapy. Judge Baird is set to hear arguments next week.


Ex-employee mails boss stolen $500

IOWA FALLS — Dave and Sharon McCaulley say they knew someone had been stealing from their restaurant decades ago, but the thefts had been long forgotten. That’s until they received a letter containing five $100 bills.

The letter, written on lined paper torn from a spiral notebook, was postmarked Omaha, Neb.

“I’m a former employee that worked for you at the Villager Restaurant when I was a kid many years ago,” it read. “I used to steal money from you. Never very much at a time, but I know it all adds up. I figure that the money, plus interest, might add up to $500, so that is what I have sent. Merry Christmas.”

The letter is signed “former employee.”

The McCaulleys, who have been out of the restaurant business since 1981, say they could use the money as much as anybody, but they’re considering donating it to a charity.

“I’m not angry,” Mr. McCaulley said. “I really feel touched by this. With all the news in the world that’s dark and gloomy, here’s something good that happens.”


Man helps form antiterror patrol

LAWRENCE — A Topeka man helped form what he calls the U.S. National Patrol to keep an eye out for terrorists.

Robert Horton, 54, said the nationwide volunteer organization can help serve as the eyes and ears of police. He estimates membership at between 600 and 720 in Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma.


Court not to block smoking ban

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s Court of Appeals yesterday refused to block enforcement of an ordinance that bans smoking in many public buildings in Lexington.

A three-judge panel said opponents of the ordinance, mainly an organization of bar and restaurant owners, had failed to show how immediate enforcement would cause them “irreparable injury.”

The organization — Lexington-Fayette County Food and Beverage Association — appealed to the state Supreme Court for a stay. It was not clear when the higher court would act.

A circuit court judge in Fayette County has upheld the ordinance as a legitimate use of the local government’s authority to protect public health. The association wants to keep the local law from going into effect while it appeals.


Wen links economics to human rights

BOSTON — Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China, whose rights record often is attacked in the United States, said yesterday that economic development and human rights go hand in hand and that both were top priorities of his government.

Speaking at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Mr. Wen said economic prosperity can help secure rights for Chinese citizens, and that better standards of living would in turn strengthen freedoms.

“China’s reform and [process of] opening up is aimed at promoting human rights,” he said through a translator. “Reform and opening up create conditions for the advancement of human rights and the advancement of human rights reinvigorates the former.”

The U.S. government and human rights organizations worldwide have long criticized communist China’s suppression of dissent and restriction on freedom of religion and expression.

Mr. Wen is on a U.S. tour that also took him to Washington and New York. He also will visit Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia before returning to China.


Grad student finds largest prime number

DETROIT — More than 200,000 computers spent years looking for the largest known prime number. It turned up on Michigan State University graduate student Michael Shafer’s off-the-shelf PC.

“It was just a matter of time,” Mr. Shafer said.

The number is 6,320,430 digits long and would need 1,400 to 1,500 pages to write out. It is more than 2 million digits larger than the previous largest known prime number.

Mr. Shafer, 26, helped find the number as a volunteer on an 8-year-old project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.

He ran an ordinary Dell computer in his office for 19 days until Nov. 17, when he glanced at the screen and saw “New Mersenne prime found.”

A prime number is a positive number divisible only by itself and one: 2, 3, 5, 7 and so on. Mersenne primes are a special category, expressed as 2 to the “p” power minus 1, where “p” also is a prime number.


Man suspected of terror ties arrested

MINNEAPOLIS — A man suspected of associating with terror network al Qaeda and having knowledge of some of the activities of Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported yesterday.

The man’s name was not released. The newspaper said it had learned of the arrest from a law-enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. FBI spokesman Paul McCabe declined to comment on the report.

The Star Tribune source said the detainee has confirmed some of investigators’ suspicions about Moussaoui, who was arrested while learning to fly a Boeing 747 jet at a Minnesota flight school two years ago.

Members of the FBI’s local Joint Terrorism Task Force made the arrest Tuesday after a lengthy investigation, the official said.

Moussaoui, 35, was indicted on Dec. 11, 2001. He is charged with a broad conspiracy that includes the September 11 attacks. His is the only U.S. criminal case spawned by the suicide hijackings.


Gas leak forces building evacuation

JACKSON — Five persons were hospitalized and 20 were treated yesterday after an apparent gas leak prompted officials to evacuate several hundred people from a 20-story downtown office building.

The privately owned Capital Towers is home to several businesses, including law firms, the Associated Press and the Capital Club restaurant.

Fire Capt. Keith Simpson said “a very unsafe level” of gas — apparently carbon monoxide — had been detected on the 10th floor.

Firefighters said smaller amounts of the gas were detected on upper floors of the building, which includes a nine-story parking garage.

Capt. Simpson said officials think the problem was caused by the building’s heating system.


Turtle protector seeks new home

TEWKSBURY — Richard Ogust found his calling in Chinatown.

There, he met Empress, a black-and-orange diamondback terrapin trapped in a tank at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

A decade after Mr. Ogust paid $20 to liberate Empress, his Manhattan loft is filled with 80 species of turtles — more than the Bronx Zoo.

But the operation has been costly, financially as well as personally, and Mr. Ogust has organized a nonprofit group with the goal of moving his menagerie to 50 acres on a farm in Tewksbury.

His collection ranges from 60-pound Burmese Mountain Tortoises to half-pound Musk turtles. They come from illegal shipments, Asian food markets, and even zoos. Of 60 critically endangered Arrakine Forest turtles in the United States, 34 reside in Mr. Ogust’s apartment.

Last year, Mr. Ogust organized the nonprofit Tewksbury Institute of Herpetology. The group has spoken to Tewksbury officials several times and hopes to make a presentation to the township planning board soon.


More classified data missing at arms lab

SANTA FE — The Los Alamos National Laboratory is searching for 10 missing computer disks containing classified information about other nations’ nuclear programs, in yet another case of sensitive information going astray at the U.S. nuclear-weapons facility, lab officials said yesterday.

Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said the missing disks posed “no threat to national security” and most likely had been destroyed without proper documentation.

The disks contained classified and nonclassified material and were from the Nonproliferation and International Security Center, which tracks the attempts of other nations to build nuclear weapons and obtain materials to support nuclear-weapons programs.

The missing disks — nine floppy disks and one large-capacity storage disk — came to light during inventory checks last month and this month. The lab has informed the Energy Department and others about the problem.


Railroad worker killed by locomotive

SAN ANTONIO — The death of a railroad worker struck by a locomotive he was operating by remote control has revived a debate about whether the devices help rail workers or whether they pose safety risks.

Union Pacific officials said they don’t know whether Jody Allen Herstine, 37, was hit from the front or behind. The five-year switchman was using a waist-mounted device to operate two locomotives when the accident occurred. Federal safety and railroad officials are investigating.

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